Office for National Statistics
OBE a “mindblowing” honour for Newport IT leader
Having worked her way up from the post room at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to become the organisation's Deputy Director for Corporate IT and Services, Ceinwen Blake epitomises hard work and dedication, and has been awarded an OBE as part of the King's Birthday Honours.
Ceinwen, originally from Cwmcarn but now living in Newport, has been given the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Public Service and says she was "shocked" to learn of the news.
"It's mindblowing really," says Ceinwen. "What other organisation would take a chance on someone my age by giving them a senior role? It doesn't happen, and now I've been given this honour.
"I received a letter from the palace about a month ago and it was like a goldfish moment – I had to read it three times before it sank in. I feel very humbled by it."
But Ceinwen's OBE is no surprise to her colleagues, who have worked with her during a career that has spanned 43 years at the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Sir Ian Diamond, National Statistician, says:
"I've had the pleasure of working with Ceinwen these last few years and she's led on some hugely important areas of work within the ONS, from ensuring that staff could continue to perform key work at home during the pandemic, to making sure we had the right technology support for our groundbreaking digital-first Census, and establishing the Digital Data and Technology profession, where she's effectively transformed how we recruit and retain staff in that area.
"She's achieved that, and much more, with great aplomb, and in the process demonstrated not just fantastic planning and leadership skills, but everyone who works with her will tell you just how supportive she is as a person, going above and beyond to help people. I couldn't be more delighted that her incredible work has been recognised with an OBE."
But Ceinwen says she's just doing what she loves.
"People mean a lot to me and alongside my job that's my main focus," she says. "Since the pandemic I think people value their work-life balance more, and it's a big thing for me, which is why I've been at the ONS for so long. The organisation has given me so much – I even met my husband Jon here."
Ceinwen is yet to find out exactly when she must go to Buckingham Palace to collect her OBE, but says it should be "in the next few months." It won't be her first time at the palace, having attended the Queen's Garden Party in 2015, but she suggests that "it may just beat that."
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